Yonkers Public Library (YPL) is eager to reopen, but under conditions that will keep its staff and patrons safe and minimize risk of infection from COVID-19. YPL’s anticipated date for each phase of the plan is dependent on local and state assessment of risk.
Chapter 0: On PAUSE (3/14-5/25)
During this phase, core library services were offered digitally and remotely.
- Library staff offered virtual programs.
- Library staff assisted patrons through phone and email service.
- New library cards were issued virtually.
- Staff made voluntary, as-needed visits to their branches to prepare them for eventual reopening. Tasks included: discarding excess furniture, clearing surface areas to make them easier to clean, decluttering outdated materials.
- Essential staff made visits for core services (payroll, inspecting facilities for maintenance issues, etc.).
MILESTONE 1: Mid-Hudson region was “un-PAUSEd” on May 26th
Chapter 1: Pre-opening (5/26-6/14)
During this phase, staff members were called back to their locations to begin readying the libraries for public service. A date for contact free pickup service (June 15) was announced.
- Public and office spaces were de-cluttered and deep cleaned. Old or outdated furniture was discarded, and remaining furniture was put into storage or rearranged to allow for social distancing.
- Other adjustments were made to minimize contact between staff and patrons when the library buildings reopen (e.g., removal/unlocking of security cases, installation of plexiglass “sneeze guards”).
- Only online services were offered to the public at this time, including programming, reference and library card registration.
- No library materials were due and overdue fines were waived.
- Library cards assigned during the closure were mailed to patrons.
- Book drops were reopened on June 9.
- YPL promoted holds for pickup at locations that currently own the requested materials.
Chapter 2: Contact-free pick-up and homebound services (6/15-7/11)
- Patrons pick up items held in the collection of the branch. These items may be placed on hold through the online catalog or a request may be made by phone. Items are bagged and brought to a building entrance at an agreed-upon time and passed on to the patron with zero contact.
- Library by Mail service resumed.
- All other services continue to be provided virtually during this phase.
- No library materials are due and overdue fines are waived.
- Donations of books and other materials are not accepted.
MILESTONE 2: Reopening phase for libraries is announced for the Mid-Hudson region. Reopening date established as Monday, July 13th.
Chapter 3: Buildings reopen to the public with limited service (7/13-7/26)
- Patrons are permitted into the library for access to collections and library card registration.
- All library visitors are required to wear masks covering mouth and nose and to observe social distancing guidelines.
- Building occupancy limits are reduced to allow for social distancing. Patrons must limit the time they spend in the library.
- Crestwood: 10 patrons (including small children)
- Riverfront: 60 patrons (not including small children)
- Will: 50 patrons (not including small children)
- Materials returned by patrons are quarantined for 3 days before check-in.
- Reference and reader’s advisory services are available, but phone and virtual inquiries will be encouraged.
- Patrons have the ability to scan their own library card and materials to be checked out in order to minimize contact with staff.
- Overdue fines continue to be waived. Fees for lost materials will be resolved on a case-by-case basis.
- All library programs continue to be offered virtually.
- Donations of books and other materials are not accepted during this phase.
- Library book sales are suspended.
- Use of study rooms and non-collection spaces are restricted to the public.
*WE ARE HERE* Chapter 4: YPL gradually reintroduces core services (Started 7/27)
- Public-access computers are available with a daily time limit of 30 minutes per patron. Computer users must wear disposable gloves (provided by the library, if needed). Number of sessions can be increased if demand and space permit it.
- Express printing is provided without charge on a limited basis.
- A limited number of chairs are returned to reading tables.
- One-on-one services are reintroduced to library meeting rooms.
- Library guest passes are suspended in lieu of “Computer Only” cards.
Chapter 5: “New normal” service
- Public programs and meetings are reintroduced following public health guidelines, with an emphasis on health, social service, and economic and job development programs. Virtual and hybrid programs may also be presented, when appropriate.
- Study rooms may be used by 1 to 2 people.
- Donations of books and other materials are accepted on a limited basis.
- Public computers and seating are slowly restored to public areas.